7 Reasons why PR is Essential for All Small Businesses.

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What’s about a Mom-&-Pop store that a large chain finds hard to replicate?

Bluntly put, and in the minimum of words, it’s ‘personalized relations.’

And how do they do that? By getting into Public Relations through the Personal route!

Yes, every business irrespective of size, volume, reach, and respectability need PR. And for obvious reasons including

  • Steady two-way communication with dedicated clients who can give authentic feedback.
  • Steady two-way communication about things other than products/ services to include issues like employment, CSR, subsidiaries etc.
  • A third-party perspective on issues be it related to products/ services, quality issues, extraneous happenings (scandals, gossip, grapevine, Chinese whispers etc) and all that which calls for information from an authoritative third source.
  • User-experience, more so positive user-experience, even more so when people don’t get the hang of a good product due to faulty explanations and instructions.
  • Influencers with the right reputation can bring better results than most advertisement campaigns.
  • PR as a matter of fact is the best addendum to any advertisement campaign.

Given all that’s great about PR, how does a small concern, a small business with small budgets and resources gain from it?

It does, in the following ways:

  • PR tells a small-business’ customers of their story of struggle (if any) and continuing victory! Ever heard of an advertisement campaign doing anything even close? This is the exclusive domain of PR, and if does correctly, can form a permanent place in a customer’s heart given that stories of struggle and that too of the ‘small chaps’ does touch the right chords.
  • PR bolsters an ad campaign! Small business being short on resources to mount advertising campaigns (traditional or digital) unlike bigger firms, PR as an exercise with the right firm, can help even the smallest and most modest of advertising efforts get the right traction, and as a consequence, the right output.
  • PR brings out the real information through user experiences! Public Relations invariably has an element of user experience (without which its existence can be doubtful) which with the right set of influencers and the use of technology (videos, online testimonials etc) can go a long, long way in creating the right impression in the eyes of everyone from would-be employees, associates, and customers.
  • PR can be used to influence perceptions from the enterprise’s point of view. Small businesses with limited budgets may find it hard to counter apparent oversights and wrong doings. Running full-page advertisements in prominent newspapers explaining one’s viewpoint could be very expensive for them. Instead, a carefully created video explaining one’s point that finds traction on all the right social-media sites can do the trick at a fraction of the cost- while retaining the business’s name and reputation.
  • PR is more malleable and adjustable to certain audiences! While an advertisement is standard to all, a PR exercise can be made to appeal to certain sections while completely excluding others. In fact, it’s for this reason that small firms with niche products and services find it better than a full-scale ad campaign which in any case, take more time, money and patience.
  • PR creates two-way communication instead of broadcasting which is the norm with advertisements! Small businesses invariably need more engagement because it’s thru such engagements that they create the essential relation with their clientele. It’s precisely for this reason that PR campaigns are more approachable and doable in the context of smaller enterprises.
  • PR needn’t always be about products, services and business. It can be about an entity’s views and thoughts about certain issues within a certain geographical area or about a particular industry. With an emotional appeal, it thus works best for smaller firms who nevertheless may have to do a lot to get themselves heard and seen.

PR as an exercise has many forms. These days, it includes the entire gamut of activities which fall within the purview of digital marketing and social-media marketing. That said, the best ways to get the most out of Public relations would include doing the following exercise:

  • Extensive use of technology where a small enterprise may put forth its views without feeling left out, as is the case with advertisements. These could include everything from responsive websites to ultra-responsive apps including the likes of WhatsApp and others where the enterprises’ viewpoint is put forth with clarity and a certain sense of purpose. In the field of PR, blogs and white-papers are of special significance as they put forth viewpoints like nothing else. These especially should be used extensively- though with some study on topics of significance.
  • Influencers! Influencers are a great way to create public relations! In fact, in these times of social-media overload, there’s a surfeit of influencers who can bring in the right publicity with just the right public. But caution one must exercise given that not all that shines is necessarily gold. Quite a few, in fact could be brass. It is thus best to go with those with the right reputation of being impartial, yet accommodative and realistic.
  • Use dedicated customers! You can’t have a better convert than an actual user who is happy using one’s services! The same applies to the field of PR, and more so when the one wanting to do the exercise is a small firm. A happy customer who has been with the firm for a reasonable time is the best bet to get the right message across to the world. There is always the danger of such a person or agency going overboard and for that, one must be clear with one’s expectations which should be highlighted much before the exercise begins.
  • Take up issues be it related to product, services or localities! One of the best ways to get the maximum bang out of a PR exercise is to concentrate on issues relating to one’s products and services and/ or connecting the same to a particular area or group of users. In doing so, it brings about the chance of addressing a defined group whose responses can form the start of a meaningful dialogue. If handled the right way, such exercises can even lead to the establishment and promotion of one’s identity as a brand!